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The importance of establishing paternity

It can be challenging for a Wisconsin man who wishes to take an active role in his child’s life if he and the mother are no longer together. If you and your child’s mother were not married at the time of the birth, you must have paternity established before petitioning for joint custody or visitation rights.  At the Mayer Law Office, LLC, we often represent clients who wish to have parenting time with their child.

According to the state’s Department of Children and Families, paternity is the legal way of saying you are the child’s father. Establishing paternity allows you to have your name put on the birth record as a legal parent. In doing so, your son or daughter gains special rights:

  • Health insurance
  • Inheritance rights
  • Child Support
  • Social security benefits
  • Access to your health history if necessary

You may establish paternity in Wisconsin in one of three ways. Filling out and notarizing the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement form and submitting it to Vital Records is the simplest way to do this. It requires the signature of both you and the child’s mother after birth.

Signing the Acknowledgement of Marital Child form establishes paternity if you get married after the child is born. As with the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement form, a notary must be present at the time of signing.

Genetic testing can confirm you are the father if the child’s mother chooses to deny it. A judge can approve the procedure at a court hearing.

After establishing paternity, you have the right to ask the court for custody, either sole or joint. You also can submit a parenting plan to the court for visitation rights. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

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